Explaining the Care Gap

f you need someone to understand the urgency of the growing care gap in long-term care, you might want to pass on a copy of Occupational Projections for Direct-Care Workers 2006-2016.

“Our analysis suggests that demand for direct-care workers over the next decade, particularly in home- and community based settings, will continue to outpace supply dramatically-unless policymakers and employers work together to make these jobs competitively attractive compared to other occupations,” says the six-page fact sheet by PHI Director of Policy Research Dorie Seavey.

Short text blocks and charts like the ones reproduced here interpret U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data in often striking ways. For instance, did you know the U.S. is expected to need a million additional direct-care workers, for a total of 4 million, by 2016? Or that direct-care workers will outnumber teachers from kindergarten through high school combined (3.8 million), fast food & counter workers (3.5 million), and cashiers (3.4 million)?

That additional million workers represents an increase of 34 percent in just one decade, the fact sheet points out, and we can’t count on finding all those people in the usual pool of workers - women aged 25 to 54 - since that pool is expected to increase by less than 1 percent between 2006 and 2016.

Norman DeLisle, MDRC
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